Gagnon-tremblay leaves riding, not Liberal families
Gagnon-Tremblay spoke to the media announcing that she will not be running in the next election. Mrs. Gagnon-Tremblay
was visibly emotional about the matter; it is to
be expected since she has assumed important responsibilities throughout her political career.
She spoke of Premier Jean Charest as a source of motivation and courage, yet when he talked about her, on Monday the day before she announced that she would not be running, his trailing voice indicated a deeper loss, more personal, as if he was losing a family member, the mother figure that has eluded him as an orphan.
Such was the power of Monique GagnonTremblay over Quebec’s politics, who formally announced yesterday that she will not run in the next provincial election. She was the first woman to be Head of the Opposition, Vice- Premier under Bourassa and Charest, but first and foremost a people representative.
She is not of the straight line politicians’ lineage, not for her a career in politics out of university. Career was legal secretary, out of the Quirion business school, name in English only, in Thedford Mines. Then she spent 12 years as a legal secretary for a notary, to go back to school in her twenties, at Université de Sherbrooke, becoming the second female notary in the Townships. Opened a small practice in Ascot Corner, gets herself elected municipal councillor there, a choice that she encouraged women who want to enter politics, as she said yesterday. Then her first foray into provincial politic, first as the president of the No committee in SaintFrançois, the Oui wins. Then a candidate at the next election, loose, only to finally be elected in 1985 and re-elected ever since.
This is so atypical of today’s politicians, most dreaming of the limousine before serving their constituents that somehow it seems unreal that there are still those types of politicians alive, in any parties.
Mrs. Gagnon-Tremblay took the time to remind the English community that it was her government who was able to find a vocation to the English hospital in Sherbrooke. “After the brutal closing of these institutions by the Parti Québecois, we saw to it that the CHUS, found a vocation for these facilities.” She also reminded that it was her government and since the CHUS Fleurimont site is in riding, she personally lobbied to have the teaching hospital keep its vocation as there were then talk of closing of one of them for budgetary reason.
If Mrs. GagnonTremblay apprehends missing something it’s the family that the Liberal Party had become to her. “I’m no longer twenty; ten years ago I would have signed for another term.”
She described herself best as a “rassembleuse” one of the few words without a direct English equivalent, the official Canadian definition being pooler. It’s hard to find a politician who has been at the National Assembly for almost three decades who doesn’t make a couple of enemies, in her case its hard them speaking publicly anyhow.
When asked if her riding would remain Liberal when the next election is called, now almost a certainty for September fourth, she did not display her usual confidence. While yesterday the media were quoting Liberal sources as saying that the full roster of 125 candidates was there and ready, the hesitant answers to the question of who will replace her seems to indicate that in Saint-François this may not be the case.